MIAMI (WSVN) - A turtle believed to have been used in a religious ceremony is on the road to recovery after it was found chained to another turtle, officials said.

The reptile was found in a South Florida waterway with another turtle.

Officials said the two turtles, attached by a chain from holes drilled in their shells, were used as part of a religious ceremony.

The middle of that chain had a plastic bag carrying voodoo dolls, cinnamon cloves and two photos of an unknown couple, officials said.

The woman who found the pair of reptiles called authorities.

Yaritza Acosta is one of the people who has cared for the two turtles since they were brought in.

“It’s pretty crazy when we see cases like this,” she said. “We’ve seen these kinds of cases in the past involving Muscovy ducks and things like that, but I’ve never seen a case like this with turtles chained together, so it’s pretty disturbing.”

X-rays showed respiratory problems for the turtle.

The reptile’s lung capacity decreased, making it hard for it to sink deep into the water.

“Right now, his buoyancy is off,” Acosta said. “He’s still able to eat pretty well, so he is in our outside pool doing well in that regard, but as soon as he recovers fully, we feel that he will be at 100 percent.”

The other turtle’s treatment fared much better, as it recovered quickly from shell rot.

“We were doing daily cleaning, soaks, and he healed well from that, so he was good to go fairly soon, and he’s out there,” Acosta said. “He went to Amelia Earhart Park and the lake there, and he should be doing well.”

One turtle successfully saved, and the second is well on his way thanks to a woman who spotted them and took action. It’s something Acosta said everyone should do if they see animal abuse.

“Call the authorities if you can, or your local rehab center in your area, to get the animal help,” Acosta said.

Once the second turtle has recovered enough, the animal rights group Animal Rescue Mission has agreed to take it in and let it live in their private sanctuary.

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